I would like to thank the kind folks who donated during the first week of the annual fundraiser here on ChaunceyDeVega.com and WARN. I am still sending out "thank you" notes. I greatly appreciate your kindness and generosity. We are about 40 percent away from the goal for this month. Hopefully, we will reach it next week and my NPR-like fundraising voice can be silenced until the end of the year.
[And if you want a good laugh, apparently the racists at the Right-wing public sewer and trough urinal called The Free Republic are upset at my post on the grumpy angry white people who hate Bill de Blasio.
Who knows, maybe they are in fact more upset because their godhead Bill O'Reilly's crap "literature" was spoken unkindly of?
It would be great fun and sport if folks would throw some money into the donation pile for WARN and then report at The Free Republic that they are, or already have, supported our work here.]
I am not a fan of "racism chasing". It is tedious and uninteresting. What I try to do here on WARN and in my other work is to "connect the dots" between issues by providing historical, social, and political context. Too often folks focus on the minutia of an event of public concern without asking, "what is this an example of?"
In this short essay, I try to provide an example of that critical approach in practice.
A white police officer in McKinney, Texas arrested, abused, and pulled out his gun on a group of black and brown children who were playing in a pool that is in a "white neighborhood".
Who knows, maybe said thug cop was confused and was reading from Jim Crow era regulations that forbade blacks and other non-whites from being in the white man's swimming pools?
Swimming pools have long been a site of white on black racial violence in both the South and the North.
The Chicago "race riot" was caused when black kids swam on the "white" side of Lake Michigan. They were stoned to death by whites for that breach of racial etiquette.
In New York, public pools in black, brown, and poor neighborhoods were poorly maintained, not cleaned, and the water kept at uncomfortable temperatures as compared to those in white, middle and upper class communities.
In the Jim Crow South, there were laws against blacks swimming in "white" pools. This was considered too much and too close of an interracial intimacy. Many white communities closed down their pools once desegregation was the law of the land.
Never forget: as folks are somehow surprised by (more) police thuggery against black and brown people, remember that James Brock, a white hotel owner threw acid at civil rights freedom fighters who dared to swim in "his" pool.
Swimming pools are sites of public struggle, contestation, and power. Leisure and recreation are sites for politics even as they superficially appear to be from from it.